The initial user interface of EVO: RAIL

The initial user interface of EVO: RAIL

VMware Launches EVO: RAIL Hyperscale Converged Infrastructure

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At its annual VMworld event in San Francisco Monday VMware launched the EVO family of hyper-converged infrastructure offerings, beginning with EVO:RAIL – an appliance for streamlining the deployment a software-defined data center.

The emphasis with this product offering is on the software defined data center. It is not a hardware bundle, but instead relies on VMware partners to offer the converged hardware infrastructure to work with the VMware software stack. VMware controls the complete software stack, makes management and support simple and easy, and leverages the benefits of its hypervisor.

EVOlutionary Building Blocks

VMware says that EVO:RAIL is a 100 percent VMware software stack, and will drastically reduce the time it takes to deploy virtual machines – within minutes of powering on the appliance. The company said that the single SKU offering covers hardware, software, and support and services costs, with partners acting as the single point of contact support. VMware has partnered with Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur, Net One Systems and Supermicro on the appliance.

Formerly code named Marvin, EVO: RAIL starts with smaller building block options, compared to larger converged infrastructure alternatives like HP and VCE offer. The VMware branded convergence offering is friendly to larger partner offerings, but does look to challenge smaller startups that have built on top of the VMware hypervisor, and integrated virtual storage area networks into their product. VMware EVO: RAIL integrates its own VSAN hardware pools, which are certified on a slew of storage vendors.

Pre-engineered as a rapid and repeatable build, the new EVO: RAIL engine is supported by integrated compute, network, storage and management software.

Its goal is simplification - from single ordering unit to single management interface and support, to Simplifying all parts of the stack, the new offering  is aimed at use cases for mid-market and enterprise segments, but can easily fit VDI or remote office/branch deployments as well.

Dell announced a virtual infrastructure edition for EVO: RAIL, as well as an VDI-specific engineered solution for EVO: RAIL, VMware Horizon 6.

VMware is building the EVO family to be a suite of products, of which RAIL will be first and smallest building block. VMware’s Chief Technologist Duncan Epping says that RAIL stands for the smallest unit of measurement for a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCIA) offering, and that it is not a reference architecture.

VMware says a single appliance will support around 100 virtual machines or 250 virtual desktops, and have a Virtual SAN datastore with a capacity of 13TB. New appliances added to an EVO: RAIL cluster will be automatically discovered. The converged infrastructure offering is based on vSphere and is meant to co-exist with or serve as an on-ramp to VMware vCloud Air, formerly vCLoud Hybrid Service.

“We currently have over 40,000 VMware virtual machines running at Rackspace. We were very pleased with the results we experienced in VMware’s Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance Early Adopter Program. VMware EVO: RAIL opens up a new and exciting opportunity to serve our customers,” said Pranav Parekh, Product Manager, Managed Virtualization at Rackspace.
VMware EVO: RAIL is expected to be available from partners starting in the second half of 2014.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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